Leetonia rallies to stun Southern in defensive battle

Sports

Leetonia scored a late touchdown to get the best of Southern Saturday night

LEETONIA, OHIO (WKBN) – Marco Ferry powered the Leetonia Bears to a hard-fought 14-13 win over the Southern Indians Saturday night.  The loss was the first league setback for the Indians since 2018.

Ferry would rush for 144 of his game-high 169 yards in the second half and scored twice to give the Bears the slim victory.  But it was the Bears defense that would come up big in the final moments of the contest.

After the Indians scored on quarterback Josh Pratt’s 15-yard pass to Timmy West with only 2:57 remaining in the game made it 14-13, Indians head coach Rich Wright gambled and went for two.  The gamble would come up a yard short as running back Hunter Morris would be stopped at the one.

“That was a bad decision,” Indians coach Rich Wright stated.  “It didn’t work.  I take full responsibility.  I’ll take the loss on me, it’s not my first one.”

Both teams struggled to put any offense together in the first half as they both traded punts, and committed 11 first-half penalties.  One was extremely costly for the Indians as they had scored on a 45-yard pass play just before the half, but had it called back for holding.

“Very frustrating,” Ferry remarked about the first half.  “They did a great job of scouting our offense, and we did the same.  It was just inches the whole game.  My guys were blocking hard, but their defense made really good reads.”

“That first half of defense we played, really the whole game, might have been the best defense (I’ve seen).  I’ve coached a lot of games, that was right up there.  They (the team) has a lot to be proud of.  My brother (Nick) has a lot to be proud of,” Bears coach Paul Hulea remarked.

But both teams made some adjustments and found a little traction in the second half.  Ferry would score on the Bears first possession of the half on a 5-yard run to break the ice with 7:36 left in the third quarter giving the Bears a 6-0 lead.

The Indians would also score on their first possession as Pratt found Brad Sloan over the middle for a 49-yard scoring strike to give them a 7-6 advantage.  That score came at the 7:17 mark.

Then Ferry would break loose for a 58-yard scamper with 5:37 remaining in the contest.  Ferry would also add a two-point conversion to give the Bears a 14-7 lead.

Once again the Indians would answer as Pratt found West for the 15-yard touchdown that pulled them to within one at 14-13, leading to the missed two-point try.

“It was a great high school football game, it really was” Hulea exclaimed.  “If you like small schools, if you like division seven football, this was the place to be tonight.  It was a great game, a hard-hitting game.  We’re excited we got the win.”

“I thought we played extremely hard,” Wright said.  “I think both teams left everything out there.  I didn’t manage the game real well, didn’t coach really well.  That falls one hundred percent on me.  We made too many mistakes against an experienced football team.”

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